Feeds

Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The debate over which battery brands work best is almost as old as dry cells themselves, but one US city has learned that it's definitely not a good idea to skimp when it comes to powering important municipal equipment.

Cash-strapped Detroit, Michigan – once the capital of US automobile manufacturing – has been looking for ways to cut corners since even before it was legally declared bankrupt by a US District Court judge in December 2013.

According to a report in the Detroit News, the city's finances are so tight that every little savings counts – even something as trivial as finding a cheaper supplier for the standard 9-volt batteries that power the city's 3,404 parking meters.

But such frugality has a price, city sources say, because the discount batteries that Detroit is using now don't do the job as well as the name-brand alkaline cells the city used before budget cuts took effect.

As a result – according to the office of the emergency manager, whose thankless job it is to oversee the city's ongoing fiscal crisis – on any given day, nearly half of Detroit's parking meters aren't working.

It's not just that the cheap batteries don't last as long. Apparently, they're also more sensitive to temperature, particularly when Detroit's frigid winters hit.

In icy conditions, they may give out significantly less than the full 9-volt charge, which can play havoc with parking meters' fussy circuitry. On an 8.2-volt charge, a meter might take money but not give out any parking time, and at 8 volts it will stop working altogether, one meter repairman told the Detroit News.

Dead meters mean Detroit loses more than just coins. Legally, the city can't give parking tickets to cars parked at broken or nonfunctioning meters. Each parking ticket ordinarily brings in $45, and 70 per cent of tickets go to nonresidents.

Add it all up, says Detroit chief operating officer Gary Brown, and the city is missing out on as much as $6m in revenue per year – all because it doesn't cough up the coin for decent batteries.

Consider that, the next time you're shopping for batteries for your smoke alarm. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.